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Posted by Imran Khodabocus on 3rd August 2020
What is the difference between Separation and a Divorce?

Experienced family law solicitor Imran Khodabocus explains the legal difference between Judicial Separation and divorce.

The COVID-19 lockdown has got many people we helping thinking about their relationships. For some people, things may have become so intolerable that they are thinking about a divorce. Is there an alternative to ending a marriage by way of divorce? Where does a ‘judicial separation’ fit into things? This is a question that we are getting asked a lot. In this article I set out some of the main differences between separation and divorce.

The main difference is that a Judicial Separation does not end the marriage, but a divorce does. So for example you could not get remarried if you had a judicial separation.

Another big difference is that, unlike divorce proceedings, if you wish to judicially separate, you do not need to prove your marriage has irretrievably broken down. You still however have to use the same ‘facts’ or reasons why you wish to judicially separate. They are adultery, unreasonable behaviour, separation for two or 5 years (the former requires the other person to consent or agree that you have in fact been separated) and desertion.

In order to get judicially separated, you do not need to have been married for a year. You do if you want to get divorced.

Just as in divorce proceedings, if you are judicially separated a court has the power to decide how any financial assets should be divided between you. However there is one big difference, the court in cases of judicial separation does not have the power to deal with how any pensions should be shared between you.

So why get a judicial separation? There may well be personal reasons why a divorce is off-putting. Another common reason is for religious reasons. It can be a bit quicker –for example there is only final Decree of Judicial Separation. It’s important to remember that a Decree of Judicial Separation does not mean the marriage is over, one of you will still have to get divorced. However it does legally mean that you no longer have to cohabit with the other person.

If you have any questions about this article, please contact us. Maybe you are thinking about the two options and want to go through things in a bit more detail?

For further information on the difference between separation and divorce you can contact Imran Khodabocus  by email [email protected] or by telephone on 01392 284 851 for appointments in Exeter or 01823 785070 for appointments in Taunton.

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